I was 19 when I decided that I wasn't going to take the normal life path like everyone else in my family.
I knew I wanted more. I knew I wanted to be creative, and I knew I wanted to do "life" on my own terms.
So, at 19 I rebelled from what my family thought was the "right way to be an adult", and I went to art school.
Art school was cool. There I discovered my "mega talents".
What I mean by a "mega talent" is this: It's the things that you discover you're really good at. Those things that most people ask you "how did you get so good at that?" We all have 'em. You have them too! Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what they are. But they're always there.
For me, art school is where my mega talents began to shine.
My talents might not be what you're expecting... it wasn't in painting, or sculpting or anything like that. Instead I learned that I was killer at project management, organization, and implementation. I also have great strengths in creative problem solving and ...sewing!
Kinda random right? Sometimes you go on a path expecting one thing to happen, only to find something totally different. That's what's so great about life.
By my third year of art school I had also discovered by fluke that I am really good at making handbags. I never grew up being extra fashionable, or being super trendy. The bag thing just happened by accident through an art project where we had to make something out of some screenprinted fabric we had created.
So, picture me, in art school, with "real artists", and I'm making bags. I definitely felt like a fish out of water. On critique days (these are days where all students put up their work and we go around and critique each artwork as a class), everyone beside me was displaying paintings, drawings, sculptures, and interactive video installations... and I was putting up all the handbags I had made.
I usually felt pretty silly on those days. Like people weren't taking me seriously. I mean, what the hell was I doing in art school???
But I knew I had something going here. I mean, making bags made me happy, it was exciting to sell them, annnnd I didn't have to work a 9-5 job if I sold enough! Really, it was perfect.
So once I graduated from art school I dove in head first, I started selling my bags online, I figured out how to take photos, created product listings, and opened up an Etsy shop called "Hoakon + Helga".
In 2008 I was an official online business owner, selling handmade bags created out of vintage leather jackets.
Within the first week, I had sold two bags. Then the next week, I sold a few more. It just kept going up from there. And I was hooked. I began sewing like a mad woman, hunting every thrift store in the city for new jackets to use, and listing my bag creations for sale online.
Now, I should point out something very important. This was 2008... the interwebs were a completely different place at that time! Imagine how many people were selling on Etsy in 2008 versus now. A HECK OF A LOT LESS THAT'S FOR SURE!
Side note: I really do believe that it was easier to get started online back then. There were just less people doing it. Things have changed. There is more work involved in getting your stuff in front of your customers. Long gone are the days where you create products, list them online and then sit back and wait for people to just find you on their own and buy.
Ok, back to my story... So this was what my life looked like for a few years. Buying jackets, cutting them up, sewing them into bags, creating product listings, selling them, and then shipping them out.
By 2011 I had enough of a following that I was able to sell out within minutes every time I added a new batch of bags. This when I really felt like I had "made it". But it didn't happen overnight. It tooks some time to get there. But once I was there, I felt secure financially, and really flipping proud of what I had created.
In 2012 I met my husband. He was an artist. He went to the same art school as me. We had crossed paths throughout the years at random. But never really knew each other.
It wasn't until we were both selling our stuff at a local art market that we started talking. I thought he was dreamy. I loved that he was very passionate about his work. And that he wasn't interested in the mainstream idea of what life should look like.
In 2016 we had our daughter, Louie.
Then, a few months later, we got married on the beach in Tofino, B.C. Canada.
In many ways, we're still "art kids" at heart. Always putting our passions as priority. Choosing to take leaps and challenges whenever possible. And letting life be full of ups and downs, rather than a "safe steady go".
My husband is a full-time artist. He creates stunning landscape artwork inspired by the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Both of us work from home. (He has the full basement to himself to create - lucky guy).
Together we're raising our daughter. She's still pretty new around here. She's just over a year old now. She just started walking and loves to get into everything! All of a sudden we feel like we have a tiny adult on our hands. It's so cool watching your kid develop their own personality.
And don't even get me started on when she picked up a pen and started scribbling on paper for the first time. Pretty epic moment for two artist parents over here.
So, we are happy. Life is certainly not perfect. Life can be hard sometimes just like it is for everyone. But it can also be incredibly amazing, and wonderful. Living a beautiful, imperfect life on our own terms is what we're all about.
So here we are. Perfectly imperfect. And on one hell of a ride.
What About The Dream Job Shop?
Well you're probably curious about how The Dream Job Shop started. So, let me tell you...
One of the scariest things I've ever done was making the decision to shift gears from making bags to starting The Dream Job Shop.
But things change. You change. You grow. Your goals become different over time. That's what's amazing about life! The Dream Job Shop began out of a passion to build an online business community for creative people and has grown in to so much more.
Now more than ever, I am so grateful for being able to live this entrepreneur lifestyle. Being a mama isn't easy. I'm sure many of you can relate. There are many days where you just need to devote your time to your little one fully and completely. Schedules don't always happen the way you'd like.
But that's why I love being an online business owner. It allows me to be flexible. I can be a mama first and foremost. That's the most important job for me. But my business is also important and I love it. It is still a very essential piece of who I am. I don't believe that we have to lose that side of us when we have kids. And for me it's become even stronger as I want my daughter to see that you should never be afraid to follow your dreams.
I am so passionate about being an entrepreneur. And my commitment here at the Dream Job Shop is to bring you the best of what I'm learning about in my own business.
I think that no matter what your thing is, you can create a business about it online. And I am proud to be able to share how to build that dream business here with you. I've got 10 years experience at this online thing. Technology has changed considerably, but the business staples are still the same. And that's the stuff I focus on.
Well, if you're still here reading this, I hope you enjoyed reading my story! Thanks for spending some of your day with me. I'm really happy that we've just become new online friends, and I hope that The Dream Job Shop will be useful to you in your own business journey.